Cohabitation, in the basic meaning, is a physical and emotional relationship between two opposite-sex inmates involves living together without any legal sanction. Many people believe that cohabitation is definitely popular to the youngsters only; however, this can happen in the older ones as well. Cohabitation appeared a long time ago and quickly became common in the USA and other Western countries. Over the last two decades, a dramatic increase in the number of cohabiting couples has been witnessed. As Bumpass and Lu reported, “the proportion of all first unions (including both marriages and cohabitations) that begin as cohabitations rose from 46% for unions formed between 1980 and 1984 to almost 60% for those formed between 1990 and 1994”, (cited in Smock 2000). Because cohabitation has the possibility of existing for a long period of time, it is not too surprising to know that up to 35% of couples who never marry have their own children like a “real family” (Smoke 2000).
The popularity of cohabitation is affecting many countries in a lot of regions, and Asia is not an exception. The young Asian people, especially college students, are influenced much by Western culture, which lead to the shift of attitude towards a lot of aspects of life involving cohabitation: they tend to be more acceptable with living without marriage. However, it still raises an argument among people of concerning that whether cohabitation should be permitted in Asia. This paper analyzes the cohabitation in Asian college students and discusses its negative effects on students.
2. Discussion of findings
2.1. Characteristics of Asian college students who cohabit
In many Asian countries, it is not difficult for the public to realize the cohabiting students no matter how hard they try to conceal. These students usually have typical characteristics showing that they are living with another boy or girl with no legal permission, which are identified as being older, hedonistic and lacking awareness of sexuality.
The cohabiting students in other regions except for Asia also have noticeable features. In the USA, for instance, Knox et al (1999) noted that students who are “older, hedonistic, racially tolerant individuals are most likely to cohabit”. Giving more details for each feature, the authors said that students at the age of more than 20 have higher possibility of cohabiting than those under 20. As for hedonism known as “belief in the sexual values”, they give the fact that students, or any other people, following hedonistic sexual values also have the trend of cohabitation, when the relativistic ones and absolutist in these merits youngsters are more reluctant to it. About the interracial tolerance, it is reported that students having interracial dating experience are also more likely to become cohabitants, which is really surprising. In comparison with Asian students, the last characteristic is not acceptable as the interracial matter is not popular in the Asian countries. The first two ones, oppositely, are much more similar and applicable in Asian students.
Besides these features, the young cohabitants in Asia also have a shortage of sexual knowledge. This is much different from the Western countries or the USA, in which the students much better awareness about sexuality. Most of college students still do not get complete understanding of sexuality or even have no knowledge of this. A Chinese counselor, Tang Weiyao, revealed a funny story about a couple who were universities students having married for two years. They still thought that just sleeping in the same bed would make the wife be pregnant (cited in Lim 2005). This is an obvious example of lacking knowledge in students, involving cohabiting ones. The reasons for this are probably ineffective sexual education at school and the fact that people are still too shy to talk about sex (Lim 2005). This characteristic also leads to a lot of problems concerning...
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